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Is Arizona Immigration Law SB1070 Constitutional?

By Ian Ritz
Epoch Times Staff
Created: April 29, 2010 Last Updated: April 29, 2010
Related articles: United States » National News
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Demonstrators listen as U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva denounces Arizona's new immigration law on April 24, 2010 in Tuscon, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Demonstrators listen as U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva denounces Arizona's new immigration law on April 24, 2010 in Tuscon, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Arizona immigration law SB1070 is attracting some high profile criticism, including from President Barack Obama and the Justice Department.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told reporters Tuesday that the new law could be abused by authorities, and that the Justice Department and Homeland Security would be gearing up for an official review of the law to see how it measures up against the U.S. Constitution.

A Houston immigration attorney, who asked to remain anonymous, spoke with The Epoch Times about the new law, and how it relates to the Constitution. He believes that Arizona immigration law SB1070 will be found unconstitutional, “perhaps under equal protection grounds.”

“The Constitution does not seem to permit the states to exclude anyone from this country,” he said, adding that Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution emphasizes that “Congress shall have power … to establish a uniform rule of naturalization.”

As the United States functions within a federal legal system, the doctrine of pre-emption applies, with federal law in most cases trumping state law.

University of Missouri-Kansas City professor Kris Kobach disagrees.

“I think the critics who are claiming the bill will not withstand legal challenge need to read the bill,” he told the Christian Science Monitor.

“The bill will withstand any pre-emptive challenge,” because it is in line with existing federal immigration law, and does not create any new immigration crimes, Kobach said.

In Arizona, where an estimated one in 14 residents are considered illegal immigrants, there have been chronic problems with violence spilling over from drug cartels in Mexico.

“We cannot sacrifice our safety to the murderous greed of drug cartels. We cannot stand idly by as drop houses, kidnappings and violence compromise our quality of life. We cannot delay while the destruction happening south of our international border creeps its way north,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last week in an statement.

Whether or not Arizona immigration law SB1070 is over-stepping the constitution, it could end up being a catalyst to spur the federal government into revamping its border patrol efforts.

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (R) and John McCain participate in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Feb. 2010. Recently, Graham said he believes that Arizona Immigration Law SB1070 is unconstitutional but that Arizona lawmakers felt they had no choice but to make it. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (R) and John McCain participate in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Feb. 2010. Recently, Graham said he believes that Arizona Immigration Law SB1070 is unconstitutional but that Arizona lawmakers felt they had no choice but to make it. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“Good people in Arizona are so afraid of an uncontrolled border that they passed a law that I think is unconstitutional,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has said that Arizona was forced into passing the bill due to a failure of the Obama administration to take stronger action against illegal immigration.

President Barack Obama told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that he agrees that there are “hundreds of thousands of people coming in” who are “not playing by the rules,” but also that he believes that Arizona has taken the wrong approach to the immigration problem.

Obama said that the law risks Americans' "core values," but the White Hourse has yet to issue an official statement on the legislation.

Additional reporting by Evan Mantyk, Epoch Times Staff




   

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